CNS intern featured on PBS news program

Ever wanted to see what our newsroom looks like?

OK, so maybe that’s not at the top of your “bucket list,” but you can see it anyway in a story that was aired last week on PBS’s “Nightly Business Report” featuring one of our summer interns, Felix Rivera.

The PBS story was on whether companies take advantage of interns and run afoul of the law by not paying them. Rivera told PBS he had a great experience interning for CNS and didn’t mind not being paid because the experience he gained is worth far more than money. He interned with CNS through the Fund for American Studies, which runs several programs for college students and places journalism students with news organizations for the summer.

Here’s the link to the PBS program. Hover your cursor over the video and drag the timeline bar to approximately 18:27. Our intern, who is headed back to Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, Alaska, is interviewed at both the beginning and the end of the three-minute story.

Catholic colleges fail Department of Education fiscal test

The economy has been tough on institutions of higher education in the United States. This week, the U.S. Department of Education issued a report listing 150 non-profit private colleges and universities that failed to meet federal guidelines for fiscal responsibility, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education. The findings are based on fiscal performance for 2009. The number is 23 more than failed in 2008 and it represents a 70 percent increase over 2007, the Chronicle said.

The failure to meet the fed’s criteria usually represents an institutions “financial fragility,” but the downturn in the economy over the last two years has hit many college and university endowments particularly hard. The determination to list a school is based on several criteria, including debt, assets, and operating deficits and surpluses. The schools are required to participate in the DoE’s evaluation of how they award federal aid to students.

Sixteen Catholic colleges and universities made the list. Two have made the list for three straight years: Ave Maria School of Law in Florida and the College of Our Lady of the Elms in Massachusetts. This is the second year that Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in New Hampshire was listed. The first-timers are Brescia University in Kentucky; Newman University in Kansas; University of St. Mary of the Lake and Dominican University in Illinois; the University of St. Thomas in Texas; Rockhurst University in Missouri; Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina; Chestnut Hill College and Rosemont College in Pennsylvania; Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia; and the Dominican College of Blauvelt in New York.

The report also list many for-profit colleges and universities.

A reflection from Dorothy Day on the Transfiguration and the opening of the atomic age 65 years ago

Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami of Nagasaki, Japan, talks with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon about the history of the Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki Aug. 5. The original cathedral was built in 1914, but was destroyed by the atomic bomb in 1945. Ban visited Nagasaki ahead of the 65th anniversary of the Aug. 9 atomic bombing of the city. (CNS photo/Junko Ito, Catholic Weekly of Japan)

Sixty-five years ago two bombs opened the nuclear era, destroying the Japanese cities of Hiroshima (Aug. 6) and Nagasaki (Aug. 9) and sending humanity on a new course.

Aug. 6 is also the feast of the Transfiguration, the time when Christ, joined by Peter, John and James, went up what traditionally has been identified as Mount Tabor in Galilee and was transfigured before their eyes. Matthew tells us that Christ’s face “shone like the sun and his garments became as white as light.”

Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker Movement and who at times has been promoted as a candidate for sainthood, offered her thoughts on the bombings shortly after they occurred in the Sept. 1, 1945 issue of The Catholic Worker newspaper. Her reflection connects the bombings with the Transfiguration event and, not mincing words, leads the reader to ponder the words of Christ in relation to how our brothers and sisters in the world are treated in relationship. She contrasts the U.S. sense of triumphalism that followed the bombings and the dangerous road on which the world had embarked.

You can read the readings from Mass today here.

From northwestern Pakistan, the rains keep getting worse

The monsoon-type rains are continuing in Pakistan, where the government aid agency says 12 million people have been affected, but expects that number could rise to half a million.

BBC News quotes Gen. Nadeem Ahmed of Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority as saying, “This will be the biggest disaster in the history of Pakistan.”

On the blog for Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops’ international relief and development agency, staffers talk about the need for clean water, especially for drinking. Their headline: “In Pakistan, Water Everywhere — and Not a Drop to Drink.”

“We have to drink water from the river but it is so dirty. But we have no other options because the floodwaters damaged our water source and washed away our pipes,” the CRS blog reports, quoting a man in the northern town of Besham whose home and land were swept away. “My family is getting sick. Today, I took my 15-month-old son to the hospital because he has diarrhea and a high fever. If the water problem is not solved, I do not know what I will do.”

Breaking: Bishops’ president decries ruling on California marriage law

Press release just issued by the USCCB:

WASHINGTON-Cardinal Francis George, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, decried the August 4 decision of a federal judge to overturn California voters’ 2008 initiative that protected marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

“Marriage between a man and a woman is the bedrock of any society. The misuse of law to change the nature of marriage undermines the common good,” Cardinal George said. “It is tragic that a federal judge would overturn the clear and expressed will of the people in their support for the institution of marriage. No court of civil law has the authority to reach into areas of human experience that nature itself has defined.”

Joining Cardinal George in his criticism of the court decision was Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage. Archbishop Kurtz noted that “Citizens of this nation have uniformly voted to uphold the understanding of marriage as a union of one man and one woman in every jurisdiction where the issue has been on the ballot. This understanding is neither irrational nor unlawful,” he said. “Marriage is more fundamental and essential to the well being of society than perhaps any other institution. It is simply unimaginable that the court could now claim a conflict between marriage and the Constitution.”

K of C pledges to help every Haitian child who lost a limb during earthquake

Young people who lost a limb in Haiti's earthquake will receive up to three prosthetics during the next two years under the Knights of Columbus' Hope for Haiti's Children program. (CNS/Bob Roller)

The estimated 800 Haitian children who lost an arm or a leg because of the country’s violent earthquake Jan. 12 will get prosthetic limbs and therapy courtesy of the Knights of Columbus.

The effort, called Hope for Haiti’s Children, was first announced by Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson as he gave his annual report Aug.3 during the organization’s convention in Washington.

More details of the two-year program were announced at a Washington press conference Aug. 4.

Estimated to cost at least $1 million, the Knights are partnering with the University of Miami’s Project Medishare for Haiti to make the prosthetic devices available.

Each child will receive three prosthetics and all necessary therapy during the two-year period.

Earlier this year, the Knights teamed up with the California-based American Wheelchair Mission to deliver more than 1,000 wheelchairs to Haiti for people who suffered crushing injuries in the quake. The wheelchairs were donated to patients at a field hospital at the Port-au-Prince airport operated by the University of Miami.

The Knights also plan to deliver another 1,000 wheelchairs over the next several months.

“Each and every one of these children will receive a new start in life thanks to the Knights of Columbus,” Anderson told the convention delegates.

Jacques Montouroy: A true humanitarian

CRS aid worker Jacques Montouroy shows Haitians in a makeshift tent camp how to cut washers from rubber tubing a few weeks after the country's devastating earthquake. (CNS/Lane Hartill, Catholic Relief Services)

Catholic Relief Services lost a true humanitarian July 29 in the person of Jacques Montouroy.

He died from complications from an ulcer, according to CRS. He was 63.

In his 41 years with the U.S .bishops’ overseas relief and development agency, “Papa Jacques,” as he was known, worked in some of the most God-forsaken places on earth under extremely difficult conditions: Haiti after the January earthquake, Burundi, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Somalia in their wars. Yet he persisted in meeting the needs of others in the face of overwhelming obstacles.

Lane Hartill, regional information office for CRS in West Africa, writes about the life of his colleague in a post on CRS Voices, the agency’s blog. His reflection on Montouroy depicts a man whose life was rooted in Gospel values as he tried to serve the poorest and most forgotten people of the world.

Montouroy never married. His family was the people he served and the people he worked with. Hartill says Montouroy never sought the spotlight and never liked to have his picture taken.

From the sound of it, he surely will be missed.

Rome again tops monthly list of most-viewed CNS stories

Once again, stories from our Rome bureau and actions by the Vatican figured prominently in our monthly list of most-viewed stories for July on our public website, www.catholicnews.com.  I say our “public” site because, as many of you know, we also have a password-protected site for our clients, where they can download and publish any number of stories in addition to the stories listed below.

Here’s the list for July, in case you missed seeing any of these stories:

1. Long, hot summer: Vatican faces external and internal challenges (July 2)

Our story on Catholic talk-show host Lino Rulli's unusual pilgrimage to Rome was one of the most viewed for July. (CNS/Paul Haring)

2. Catholic radio host leads listeners on unusual pilgrimage to Italy (July 21)

3. Vatican says new norms will strengthen efforts against abusive priests (July 15)

4. Revised Vatican norms to cover sex abuse, attempted women’s ordination (July 9)

5. Archbishop: Norms on women’s ordination reflect sacraments’ importance (July 15)

6. Rome Diocese calls for active gay priests to go, stop sullying church (July 23)

7. Anglicans expect exodus after Church of England OKs women bishops (July 13)

8. USCCB issues guidelines for use of social media (July 20)

9. Case of dismissed Catholic professor is under review (July 14)

10. Bishops, other faith leaders commend ruling on Arizona immigration law (July 29)

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